Unveiling Investor Behavior in Market Declines: IWI Study Insights

Posted by Allison Edmondson, Director of Communications

Jul 13, 2021 3:00:00 PM

Denver, CO — July 13, 2021 — The Investments & Wealth Institute, in partnership with the Behavioral Investing Institute, recently conducted a study on how both advisors and investors perceive bubbles and market crises. The survey results revealed the depth of client temptations, their fears of market declines and understanding of their portfolios. The study also revealed advisors’ perceptions of what their clients think of them. The upcoming two-part webinar series, Bubbles and Market Crises will preview this new investor research and provide actionable behavioral finance techniques while diving into the many facets of market bubbles. 

  • Part 1 - July 13, 2021, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. EST: New Research on Investors vs. Advisor Perspectives on Bubbles and Market Crises

  • Part 2 - July 20, 2021, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. EST: Building Portfolios and Practice Communications to Address Bubble and Market Crises

The webinar series will feature Eben Burr, President, Toews Asset Management; Daniel Crosby, Ph.D., Chief Behavioral Officer, Orion Advisor Solutions; and Phillip Toews, Chief Executive Officer, Portfolio Manager, Toews Asset Management.
Investments & Wealth Institute will release its 2021 Investor Behavior in a Market Crisis, conducted by Absolute Engagement, in partnership with Behavioral Investing Institute on July 19. Attendees of the webinar series will get a first look at the results. The 2021 iteration builds upon last year's study and illuminates the gaps between client and advisor perceptions regarding their advisory relationship. The study also outlines the behavioral finance techniques that advisors can utilize to demonstrate and reinforce their value to clients.
The research, conducted by Absolute Engagement, gathered input from 200 advisors and 750 investors in the United States between April-May 2021. All investor respondents worked with a financial advisor, made, or contributed to the financial decisions in their household, and met specific requirements regarding investable household assets.
Against the backdrop of the world recovering from an economic recession and the COVID-19 global pandemic, the research took a close look at investor behavior, risk tolerance, and confidence. The study revealed critical gaps and opportunities for advisors, including: 

  • Clients and advisors have inverse perceptions of the impact of communicating their plan of action, indicating that advisors are not doing a good job communicating with their clients. The research shows there is an opportunity to educate clients better.

  • Investors in 50% or more market declines are more likely not to change course. At the same time, advisors in the same conditions are more likely to take action to diminish loss, demonstrating the value of advice, especially in challenging market conditions. 

The research also examined differences in needs and preferences across segments highlighting the significant differences in clients based on demographics. There was a considerable difference in risk tolerance based on age, and level of wealth, with wealthier respondents reporting feeling less nervous about market changes and younger investors taking the most significant risk. Gender was also found to have an impact on behavior. While women respond more conservatively when making changes during a down market, men are more likely to accept lower returns to minimize potential losses.
"These findings are fascinating and provide much insight for advisors and how they can better serve different segments of their clients." Remarked Phillip Toews, Chief Executive Officer, Toews Asset Management. "Perhaps most interesting is the data showing most advisors would stop investing to minimize loss during market declines. While investors would make no changes, highlighting the value of advice to mitigate risk and maximize returns. There is a clear opportunity for advisors to support clients with their expertise in these uncertain market conditions."  
"One of the reasons financial advisors and investment professionals have taken a keen interest in behavioral finance and we continue to field this study is because investor behavior can have such a disastrous impact, despite advisors' best efforts," said Tim Whiting, Chief Revenue Officer, Investments & Wealth Institute. Adding "this research expands upon last year's findings and shows both the importance of communicating with clients and practical ways to lessen behavioral bias in clients, and advisors themselves."   


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